Step into Claudia Bueno’s aquarium-style installation at Meow Wolf’s new space in Las Vegas and experience the slow, oscillating movements of natural life. “Pulse” is comprised of countless white line drawings that are meticulously intertwined and superimposed on 60 glass panels. When illuminated, they mimic scores of nautilus spirals, coral, vines, and botanics that sway and throb in glowing masses.
“This is what ‘Pulse’ is, a way of creating animated volumes using layers of drawings that build up. I have been refining this technique for the last six years, understanding how these forms can also have a moving quality when the light system is applied,” the Venezuela-born artist says, noting that the idea for the project grew out of a visit to Yellowstone National Park.
During the course of eight months, a team of women painstakingly painted the glass panels at Bueno’s Idaho studio. “The repetitive/meditative quality of the work lent itself to provide a very special healing space for us as we drew fine lines for hours and openly shared and supported each other,” she says. No matter the scale of the project, Bueno begins with a single dot that she duplicates, expands into lines, and eventually into intricately developed patterns, which she explains:
It seems like it doesn’t matter what size, materials, and tools I am working with, the same kinds of patterns manage to manifest themselves over and over, building on each other, gaining both complexity and simplicity at the same time… It has been an interesting brain challenge to visualize a stack of 2D drawings that then become 3D and move. It’s my own version of a non-digital, hand-drawn time-lapse or animation.
Although much of the installation’s work is complete, Bueno shares that she’s creating smaller sculptures, jewelry, and other works to coincide with the larger project. “Pulse” is set to premiere at Meow Wolf’s satirical sendup of consumerism, Omega Mart, which the Santa Fe-based arts group (previously) will soon open within Area 15 in Las Vegas. Until then, watch the video above by Adolfo Bueno and find more of Bueno’s light-based works on her site and Instagram. Video by Adolfo Bueno.
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Staining friend’s hands with dandelion heads and blowing their wispy seeds are a common childhood pastime and a simple joy that Shota Suzuki channels in his delicately constructed sculptures. The Kyoto-based artist painstakingly carves copper, brass, and silver into barbed leaves and feathery seeds to recreate the ubiquitous herbs in each state of bloom and decay.
To tarnish the textured metals and alter their colors, Suzuki uses combinations of vinegar, copper sulfate, and acetic acid to create purples and blues. For the black components, he oxidizes pieces in dissolved sulfur. Suzuki’s coloring techniques are rooted in traditional Japanese patina methods including niiro, which historically used daikon juices to alter the metal, and are the most demanding part of his process. “The chemical modification is very sensitive and is affected by everything from the weather conditions to the dirt on my hands. It’s hard to make the same color every time,” he says in an interview with Kyoto Journal.
Each dandelion is the product of hours of research, which begins while Suzuki walks around his neighborhood and spots weeds in sidewalk cracks or garden flowers. He then works from memory and occasional glimpses of photos of the chosen plant, forgoing sketches and models to create pieces that merge scientific accuracy with the artist’s vision, which he explains:
I’ve never practiced the art of ikebana, but there is an element of it that comes through. My work does not portray a plant as it would be in its natural environment. Rather I manipulate it in a way that I find to be beautiful. I think the composition especially, like the placement and length of the flowers and stems of the plant, is really important. So in that respect, it is rather similar to ikebana.
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At the center of Coderch & Malavia’s artistic practice is the beauty of the human figure and its various expressions. The Valencia-based duo works collaboratively to cast bronze sculptures that explore the nuances of the body through dance-like movements and distinct gestures. Natural details like golden branches and feathered wings embellish many of the heavily patinaed works, Coderch & Malavia share, to evoke themes from classic literature, theater, photography, cinema, and ballet. “The human being is three-dimensional,” they say. “Probably that is the main reason why we are attracted to sculpture. It is the closest artistic representation of ourselves.”
After a discussion on intentions for a new project, the pair generally works with a live model to help the sculpture take shape. “The complicated part is organizing and sharing the physical creation of the work itself because you need double discipline,” they say. “You must learn to trust your partner and be able to share your ideas and your work with him, and, above all, you must put your ego aside in order to stay equal to commit to the final result.”
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Jason Anderson visualizes city skylines, swooping highway exchanges, and a range of urban landscapes through prismatic, impasto strokes of oil paint. The U.K.-based artist begins each painting with a black-and-white sketch before turning to the linen canvas and translating the lively works. In recent months, he’s incorporated more curved lines and saturated tones alongside the pastels he’s used previously, resulting in abstract scenes of horizons and city centers rendered through a mosaic of color.
“I relish the often frantic nature of mixing and arranging the paint in thick impressionistic daubs and submitting to a process that creates its own detail and form,” the artist says in a statement. “This forces me to be bold and decisive; it also produces a kaleidoscope of shape and tone (reminiscent of stained-glass) which portrays the ever-present movement and energy found in nature.”
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Japanese artist Azuma Makoto (previously) is known for shifting the contexts in which we typically view florals—think encasing bouquets in blocks of ice or suspending them in the stratosphere—through installations and designs that blur the boundaries between art and botany. Shown here is a 2018 project titled “Frozen Flowers” from Makoto’s In Bloom series. The undertaking brought the artist to Notsuke Peninsula in Hokkaido where he doused open blossoms and greenery in water. Positioned against the stark, snowy landscape, the resulting arrangement is frozen in its original splendor, allowing the vibrancy of the flowers to peek through the icicles.
“The place where this installation was held in Hokkaido is also called the end of the world since blighted pine trees are usually spread out there and that place freezes over in winter,” says Makoto’s studio. “It was the series of how Azuma pursued unknown possibilities of flowers and how flowers express themselves under this condition.”
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Spread flat or folded in shapeless piles, Cecil Kemperink’s bulky chain sculptures contrast the solid ceramic material with the flexibility of their shapes. The movable works are comprised of hundreds of loops that link together in sheets of earth tones and subtle gradients. Whether heaped on the floor or draped across Kemperink’s body, the hefty chain mail is at once supple and fragile.
The artist (previously), who is based on the island of Texel in the Netherlands, draws her understanding of motion from the surrounding water and environment. “I love the rhythm of nature, the tides, the (change) of the length of the days, the seasons, the changes continuous,” she shares. “I try to translate the rhythm, the time, the colors, the continuous movements in different ways into my work.”
Follow Kemperink’s latest works, which will include ten pieces for an installation, two larger works, and a wall sculpture in the coming weeks, on Instagram.
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